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Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdown

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Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdown

Postby Staff » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:03 am

1. Overview

Ultimate Showdown. The name inspires visions of an epic battle between the Armoured Avenger and his megalomaniacal archenemy that would tax the limits of the two foes abilities and resources, ending in chaos, destruction and a spectacular defeat for one side or the other.

Alternately: This.

2. Box Front3. Box Back

Alright, so the name is ridiculous and if this is really how the end of the film will play out I can only hope that LEGO has either made a gross misinterpretation of the script/concept art or this represents only a tiny fraction of a larger scene. These three Iron Man sets threw me for a loop, because I expected them to go up in size as well as number and the naming seemed to go along with that assumption. If we're still to take these sets as the progression of action throughout the film, it would seem to play out as follows. 1) Early on in the film, the Mandarin attacks Tony's home with helicopters (the trailer confirms this one). 2) Iron Man teams up with War Machine (Shane Black has already confirmed there would be a buddy cop style act) to take on Aldrich Killian and stop him from infecting people with the Extremis virus via missile launching boat. And 3) His Ten Rings Organization depleted of air and water attack vehicles, the Mandarin confronts Iron Man with his flame-throwing ride-on lawn mower/golf cart... thing. I suppose this thing could represent a huge tank, that would make a much more formidable vehicle to take into battle against old shellhead. Or it might, if they hadn't already shown him blow one up in the first movie with his old school Mark III suit, zero effort and a whole lot of attitude. I'm guessing the Mandarin won't be a recurring villain.

5. Figs Front

Forgetting about what this set could have been and speculating on how it will go down on screen, let's focus on what we actually get. To start, we get a couple of exclusive figs and they're actually better than I thought when I first saw them.

4. Iron Man(darin)

The first fig we get is the next numerical suit in Tony's closet, the Mark 17 Artillery Level RT suit or the "Heartbreaker". Personally, I would have preferred the Mark 18 Enhanced Holographic Projection suit aka the "Dream Maker", or the Mark 19 Experimental Pheromone Dispersal suit or the "Love Taker", but let's not mess around any further. This armour is the busiest of the bunch in my opinion and these new releases have not only waist printing to go along with the leg prints, but now the toes are inked as well. I can't imagine anyone is spending that much time looking at Iron Man's feet, except maybe shoe fanatics (not my first choice of name for such a person) or some sort of self aware robot with a foot fetish. I don't really have a problem with the busy chest and back because they match the pictures of the suit well and even the legs are fine with me, but the helmet is another issue. The point they've painted on at the peak is off and the silver on the chin is too much. There's basically just a silver pin-stripe on the chin leading up to a larger panel on the back of the jaw and the peak doesn't encroach down that far on the face and certainly not to so sharp a point. I've already started calling him Avastark The Last Iron Bender because making fun of a tiny, tiny toy makes me feel like a big man. They should have left his hairline alone and just added the dark spot on his chin and called it a day. The blue eyes are a nice touch to match the chest and change it up a bit.

6. Figs Front (Hairless)7. Figs Back (Hairless)

I honestly didn't even look at the Mandarin figs that closely when pictures first turned up and was pleasantly surprised when I received the sets to find that the figs were different. When I did notice, I thought I'd end up liking the fancy robed version from the Malibu Mansion set better, but I'm not so sure now. It may be more reminiscent of the classic Mandarin, but this torso strikes me as far more useful. A grungy, guerilla-ish soldier torso with a bandolier belt and tattered bandana... yes please! It screamed Full Metal Jacket/Tropic Thunder to me when I was putting him together and the olive pants are just a cherry on top for me. The beard and hair piece, don't work particularly well together for me, but they'll do and will be far more useful separate than together. I'm not sure the CMF sumo wrestler top knot will work here, but it's worth a try and I will definitely be adding a face print with sunglasses to mine for laughs.

13. No Head Clearance

Moving on to the Mandarin mobile, it's time to address an issue with Super Hero sets in general. I've heard people lament that the majority of Star Wars poly bags are vehicles and they wish that they'd take a page from the Super Hero line and have more minifig-centric polys. This issue is actually the reverse problem for LEGO. It's been stated that LEGO's biggest seller are the vehicle based sets and that play sets don't do as well generally because Vroom/Swoosh/Pew! (probably why most have at least a small vehicle). I'll buy that because Star Wars is a perfect model for this being a huge universe filled with ships, speeders and space tanks. Sure, we may see some vehicles again and again, but that's because LEGO knows we'll recognize them. Super Heroes on the other hand, don't need vehicles generally. Batman (who is a crime fighter not a super hero, but I digress) needs vehicles and he has probably the only truly iconic one in all of comics, the Batmobile. That would be why we primarily get Bat-sets on the DC side and why we've already had two regular Batmobiles, a UCS version and a poly, not to mention two Tumblers and a host of other Bat-traptions. The Avengers was a huge movie last year, so we got a Quinjet set and poly, but just think about what other Superhero vehicle could be considered iconic? How many kids would know what the Fantasticar looks like? The Blackbird X-jet was based on a real vehicle, but it was retired before a lot of kids building these sets were even born and it's pretty hard to recognise an invisible jet. Amirite? Don't bother listing endless Super Hero vehicles below, because none are anywhere near as famous as the Batmobile or Millennium Falcon.

This is why every time there is a new toy wave, we get Iron Man on a 4-wheeler or the Spider-buggy. I guarantee it's why the new Ultimate Spider-man cartoon immediately brought in the Spider-cycle and it's the reason Super Hero polys are primarily figs. In the super hero universe, vehicles are what bad guys throw at the heroes. At best they're used for underpowered heroes to span greater distances, but they're usually nothing to get excited about. With comics tendency towards each artist drawing vehicles differently every time, it's difficult to even associate a specific "look" to many and so, here we are. The Mandarin drives a flaming Zamboni.

9. Mandarin Mobile Front12. Mandarin Mobile Rear
10. Mandarin Mobile Right11. Mandarin Mobile Left

It's a small, solid build, but it falls short in every area. The design is boring and comes across as more laughable than intimidating. It doesn't have any stand-out parts to speak of, but at least they're useful if bland. We do get a couple more of the technic arms that came in the Spider-cycle set.

14. I Didn't Think This Design Through!
15. Mandarin Mobile Top & Flame Thrower16. Mandarin Mobile Bottom & Flame Thrower

The flick-fire missiles don't feel tacked on as they do in many sets, but the entire flame-throwing function is ridiculous and is more apt to set the driver on fire then do any damage to Iron Man. The cockpit is designed to seat the Mandarin very tightly, unfortunately the second row of superfluous cheese grater slopes makes it so he can't even lower his arms towards the wheel. He's constantly raising the roof, because there ain't no party like a Mandarin party... apparently. This little bumper car looks a bit like an amphibious vehicle as many LEGO models tend to, but it just fails on too many levels. I understand that these small sets must be difficult to keep different yet interesting, but I can think of a couple of redesigns right off the top that would look a bit better while keeping the piece count. I don't know how well they would jive with the movie, but that remains to be seen for this set anyway.

17. Tell Me You Didn't Pay Money For That... Thing.

What I Liked:

  • Mandarin fig has a great torso and head print. Olive Legs are nice too.

  • The "Heartbreaker" armour is pretty accurate, but I'd switch the helmet out if it weren't for the blue eyes.

What I didn't Like:

  • The suits helmet is too far off for me, but at least it's different.

  • I wish they'd have come up with better beard/hair for the Mandarin.

  • The flaming Zamboni is a total waste, but I'm sure kids will get some play out of it and Flaming Zamboni would make a great band name.

Verdict: Skip it if you care about sets. It's not worth it at the $13 the US pays and certainly not the $16-17 here in Canada. If your main concern is minifigs, then this has two exclusives and you can't complete you Hall of Armour without it. With the upcoming "exclusive" Iron Man poly containing the cheapest suit from last years sets and no Iron Patriot in sight, you may want to jump on what you can get. Wait for a sale or to pad an order if need be.

Buy 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin: Ultimate Showdown from LEGO [email protected]:

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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby Sharpie Clone » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:50 am

Best/Funniest Review EVER.
Seriously, you are spot on about how the sets from this movie have me more concerned than excited and if the finale is really versus Gimli in a flame-throwing John Deer lawn vehicle, I will really be disappointed/angry.
The way you worked in the classic rock tune was wonderful and you assessment of the lack of vehicles in the SuperRealm is correct.
One of the really crappy truths is that LEGO is becoming an action figure company as much as a building block company and the secondary market has taken notice. I too, would be interested in having 6-10 of the bodies of the Mandarin to use for military/terrorist types. However, here in Hong Kong, where prices are higher than North America, I can expect to pay about $7-9 US just to get one of the minifigs and probably that same or more for 1 "Heartbreaker".
Sharpie Clone
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby CaptainFordo » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:28 pm

While initially I was only planning on this set, when I realised the nicer looking (and default film look) Mandy was in the Malibu set, not to mention the neat Tony Stark, new suit and Pepper, I was planning on just getting Malibu and then buying Heartbreaker, but pretty much all the auctions of him have been going for £11.99 or more anyway, so what the heck, I went in on this set anyways. I'm mostly happy with it, the Mandarin vehicle has some parts that would go well in a military jeep or APC vehicle or something and as you mentioned, BBB, the torso is perfect army fodder stuff for guerillas or terrorists or jungle troops.

As you mentioned it's true that the superhero world is lacking in iconic vehicles, though at least Mandarin has need of one (especially in the film where he's just a regular man from what we've seen), unlike Spidey or Doc Ock. However, something more like Ultimo might've been cool, but I guess that would be kind of a retread of the Lex Luthor set. Agree on the Fantasticar too, in most appearances it seems to be 4 metal boxes stuck together... even the Quinjet doesn't really have a definitive look.

I also second the useless flamethrower, considering Iron Man spent a long while with his face in a fireplace in Iron Man 2 with no damage to the suit or man within whatsoever.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby Ultron32 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:37 pm

Good review.
Thought you'd like this about the Vatican cameos.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby Sharpie Clone » Thu May 02, 2013 11:36 pm


Spoiler: show
I guess LEGO created the Ultimate Golf Cart on their own because it never appeared in the movie. Likewise for the boat set with Aldrich. But outside of the container port, I don't know what else they really could have created for a set. The "Mandarin's" broadcasting lair?
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby onions » Mon May 06, 2013 10:18 am

hey sharpie, next time surround your text with spoiler tags, or highlight with your cursor and hit the spoiler button.

Spoiler: show
after having seen the movie, all i can say about all of the sets other than malibu mansion attack is a giant WTF. heartbreaker armor is nice, and i'm guessing will be the SOLE reason why anyone would bother picking up this set. the lego designers must have had NOTHING to work with and just decided to resurrect a john deere tractor prototype they had lying around and showhorn it into this set to hit the price point. while there were flames aplenty at the end, there wasn't a vehicle in sight.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby dWhisper » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:56 am

Spoiler: show
Even the Malibu Mansion is a gigantic letdown after seeing the movie for one simple reason...


That, more than anything else in these sets, annoys me. I have the Mansion sitting around waiting for pictures and a review write-up. I'd been holding off hoping that my anger at the sets after seeing the movie would subside. As you'll see once I've written the review... not so much
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby Flynn » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:45 am

I think that's actually quite clever on LEGO's part. Usually we run into the problem of the LEGO sets revealing stuff before the film comes out, and here it seems a rather deliberate piece of misdirection.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby sparkart » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:11 am

That would be terrific to let LEGO go nuts and make sets that aren't really reflected in the movie. If I was working at LEGO, I'd insist that a green dragon, made from Ninjago parts, would have to be made to be Fin Fang Foom in the Mandarin versus Iron Man set. Sure most people's introduction to Iron Man and The Avengers is through the movie, and not through comic-books, but we have the internet, and those interested can look up where this crazy stuff comes from.
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Re: Review: 76008 Iron Man Vs. The Mandarin Ultimate Showdow

Postby Draykov » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:29 pm

It took me a while to get to it, but this review made me LOL. Nice job, Ken. "Raise the roof..." [chuckle].
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